Each year, we partner with Explore.org, an arm of the Annenberg Foundation, to share some of our local wildlife and the iconic landscape of Northwest Montana's Mission Valley through Live Cams.
The cameras are active and streaming live online 24/7. By day, you can view the scene in color - by night, infrared. These cameras have given us an ability to learn more about breeding behavior of owls and Osprey. They allow us to see the good times, and the bad, in the lives of these animals – including life and death. It can be difficult to watch a chick die, but that's life and we do not interfere – but we do learn.
The cameras have become incredible tools. From a research perspective, they allow us to learn more about the owls' life, allowing never before seen behaviors during the night hours. From an educational perspective, they summon endless levels of interest for the casual cam watcher to the scrutinizing, citizen-scientist cam viewer. The chat boards on each cam allow us to share educational information and updates on our research directly with the viewing audience.
We are grateful to Explore.org for bringing these viewing opportunities to the world. Likewise, we are appreciative of the Cam Community who keep us updated on noteworthy happenings.
Watch ORI's Live Cams
A Note About The Live Cams:
If you view one of the Live Cams, you may see that it is on Highlights (as indicted by a badge in the lower left corner of the viewer).
There are a variety of reasons for this:
Some of the live cams are seasonal (such as the Nesting Snowy Owl Live Cam), which means they are not live year-round.
These cameras are on wild animals, and we cannot control their movements. Though we try to predict where they may go, we are not always able to find them. They may move to locations where we are not able to set up a mobile cam.
The cam may be experiencing technical issues, such as power or internet outages due to weather. These issues may be temporary, or more serious and require significant efforts before they can be fixed.
We also may temporarily put the live stream on Highlights if our researchers are in the area.
When issues arise, we work closely with our partners at Explore.org to resolve them to the best of our ability as soon as we can. Our very small staff, the remoteness of the locations, and the long distances the explore.org camera technicians may have to travel are all compounding factors in addressing issues. We understand it can be disappointing when a camera is down, but know that we will do everything in our power to address the issue as soon as we can.
We value these live cams and the communities that have formed around them- thank you for being here with us!
ORI's Intervention Policy
The opportunity to be immersed in the lives of wild creatures makes it easy to become emotionally invested in their well-being. This connection is one of the most powerful things about wildlife cameras, but it also makes them difficult to watch sometimes.
At the Owl Research Institute (ORI), our approach to research and monitoring, including situations that occur on camera, aims to reveal and document how natural processes unfold. These are wild animals and we've made a conscious decision to keep ourselves out their lives as much as possible. While immediate intervention might sometimes seem like the appropriate response, it’s important to remember that we often don't have the right answer. There are countless instances of human intervention which have not solved the problem at hand, and in fact, created a whole host of other unintended consequences.
At ORI, we have a non-intervention policy. The exception, however, are situations caused by humans. We have, for example, removed fishing line from the beak of an Osprey chick. A chick that is not thriving, however, would not warrant intervention of any kind.
Decisions involving a bird in distress often need to be made quickly, with the information at hand. Sometimes it isn’t entirely clear what is going on and gray areas exist. Other times, even if human intervention would be appropriate, we many not have the capacity or needed resources immediately available to us. We are a very small organization, and often are in the field. We do the best we can. And like you, we want to see the birds thrive. But, as researchers and cam watchers, our role is not to influence the natural interactions between species and their environments. It is to learn, enjoy, document, and promote the conservation of these animals and their ecosystems.
Even when it’s hard.